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Cruise ship passengers left behind on African island say they may not board ship again

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An American couple who endured traveling through seven countries in 48 hours to catch up to a cruise ship that left them at a previous port said they may not re-board the boat.

A 21-day dream cruise along the coast of Africa turned into an international ordeal for couple Jill and Jay Campbell and a group of six other passengers after they said they were left behind during a tour stop on an African island.

What happened to the cruise ship passengers?

Six Americans and two Australians were on a privately-run excursion on the island of Sao Tome on March 30 and were supposed to be back by 3 p.m. local time, according to the couple.

When they didn’t make it back in time due to what they said were issues with the tour, their Norwegian Cruise Line ship left without them.

The Campbells told NBC News their tour operator notified the cruise captain that they were going to be late rejoining the ship, but the vessel left anyway. They added that the island’s coast guard tried to get them and several others to the cruise ship, but they said they weren’t allowed to board.

The couple then had to make their way from Sao Tome to Senegal, where the cruise ship was docked on April 2.

“It’s one of those, ‘You can’t get there from here,’” Jay Campbell said on TODAY on April 2. “I think we flew through six countries just to get to Gambia yesterday.”

When will the passengers return home?

The couple traveled through seven countries in a 48-hour period to reach Senegal, according to Jill Campbell.

Following that ordeal, they said they aren’t sure if they’re going to board the ship again to rejoin the cruise.

“After what we witnessed, we truly believe that although there’s a set of rules or policies that the ship may have followed, they followed those rules too rigidly,” Jill Campbell said.

“I believe that they really forgot that they are people working in the hospitality industry and that really the safety and the well-being of the customers should be their first priority, and that should be placed first,” she said.

“We believe there was a basic duty of care that they’ve forgotten about so it does concern us.”

What has Norwegian cruises said?

Norwegian Cruise Line told NBC News in a statement that the Campbells’ situation was unfortunate, saying “guests are responsible for ensuring they return to the ship at the published time” and noting the group was on a privately-run tour.

The Campbells were thankful for the people of Sao Tome as they tried to navigate how they were going to catch up to the ship.

“It’s a very difficult process,” Jay Campbell said. “You’re dealing with multiple languages, language barriers.

“You’re dealing with different currencies, currency exchanges, finding someone that even has dollars, taking dollars, the minimum amount that we had, trying to convert them to local currency, (and) trying to get an agent to understand where we need to get to.”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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